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FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2014
Est. 1866 Phone 769 7900
The tall and
the short of it
passes through NZ
winched to safety
Two trampers who became stuck
in the mountains behind Hari
Hari were plucked to safety by the
NZCC Rescue Helicopter yesterday
afternoon. The two men, from
Palmerston North and Christchurch
were caught about 300m above
the Adams River valley floor in
the Adams Wilderness Area. The
pair activated their personal locator
beacon when they were unable to
continue on the untracked, steep
and rugged terrain. The New
Zealand Rescue Co-ordination
Centre dispatched the helicopter
from Greymouth and a St John
paramedic was lowered to the men,
who were uninjured. They were
winched up and then flown out to
their car at the Wanganui River
road-end, near Hari Hari.
A severe weather watch has been
issued as a front approaches the
West Coast. It is expected to move
rapidly eastwards over the South
Island and southern North Island
this evening and during Saturday.
It will be preceded by very strong
north-west winds which will
bring a brief, but intense period of
heavy rain to the West Coast, the
Metser vice said. A warning for
heavy rain is in force for Fiordland,
Westland and Buller.
A woman and her daughter both
gave birth at the same hospital on
the same day. Heather Penticoff
and her daughter Destinee Martin
each found out they were pregnant
on the same day. They had the
same due dates and, for separate
medical reasons, doctors at Lee
Memorial Hospital in Florida
decided to induce both of them
on Tuesday. Penticoff ’s daughter
Madeline was born first and
Destinee’s son Damien was born
almost three hours later, making
Penticoff ’s grandson roughly the
same age as her newborn daughter.
Penticoff says the births are “like
having twins without carrying
twins.” Martin says experiencing
pregnancy and birth with her
mother “is probably the most
special, amazing thing ever”.
Rain, heavy falls, easing to showers
2014 whitebait catches mixed
As West Coast whitebaiters wet
their nets one last time today, Buller
fishermen were reflecting on good
catches that eluded many of those
The 2014 season ends as the sun
goes down today.
“It ’s been the best in five or six years,”
John Mansell, from the Karamea
Holiday Park, said.
He was staying away from the river
today, avoiding the showers.
“I only fish when the sun’s shining,”
Mr Mansell said.
The good catches had dried up a bit
in the past few days, but prior to that
everyone on the river did well.
Most of the visiting whitebaiters
only wanted to catch enough for
themselves and their friends and
family, so freezer space was not a
problem, he said.
At Westport, Lynley Roberts agreed
it had been a much better season, with
good-sized catches for most.
She fished the back tide on the
Buller River this morning but there
was little about.
“Baiters will be cleaning up their
possies. By tomorrow you won’t know
anyone had been on the river,” Ms
All Buller rivers had fished well,
and consistently, this year, which she
attributed to the more settled weather.
“People have been able to fish more.
There have been some good, big
catches, most people have had some
days where it ’s been really, really good,
giving them a boost.
“It’s good for the town, everyone
feels happier. ”
Association president Des McEnaney
said overall, the Grey River and north
as far as Karamea did particularly well.
“South has been a mixed bag. Some
rivers have been particularly poor,
some mixed and others picked up
later in the season,” Mr McEnaney
There had been a bit of bait around
just before the weather turned a few
“It will probably pick up today to
He said gravel extraction had made
the Taramakau River harder to fish,
and some standholders had not even
set up for the season.
Things were more mixed in South
Tony Kerr, of the Curly Tree
Whitebait Company at Haast, said
the Waita River alongside their place
had not had a great season.
“ We’ve had worse, but we’ve had
better,” Mr Kerr said.
It had been patchy, and no river had
fished that well in South Westland,
though some had fared better than
“The cold patch in the middle of
September didn’t help. Conditions
have not been ideal, but they never
The proposed closure
Heaphy Road is headed to the
Environment Court, with the
Grey District Council still in
favour of the road-stopping
request from the Gloriavale
The proposal drew 10 public
submissions, all opposed to
the loss of public access to the
Haupiri Valley area.
Council chief executive Paul
Pretorius provided background
to the council meeting this
week, saying the council in the
early 1900s had identified “huge
potential” in developing the
Haupiri hot pools. However, a
legal road was never built all the
way to the pools.
The original owner had arranged
for the council to build the
current road, which runs part of
the way to the hot pools, through
“He was faced with a huge cost
of a new bridge,” Mr Pretorius
The farmer then transferred
ownership of his land to six
different people, which meant
the council had to build a road. It
was never intended to be for the
public, Mr Pretorius said.
He said the public perception
that the road closure would deny
anyone access was incorrect as a
memorandum of understanding
was already in place with the
Department of Conser vation.
Fish and Game West Coast
manager Dean Kelly addressed
the meeting, saying the road still
ser ved a purpose. A road closure
would need reasonable cause to
justify it, rather than being just
for private benefit.
Mr Kelly said the issue was
a “matter of convenience” for
the council, but did not doubt
Gloriavale’s intentions to protect
their property from vandalism.
Mayor Tony Kokshoorn asked
Mr Kelly if he knew of anyone
who had been unreasonably
denied access. Mr Kelly said
he was aware of two or three
instances in the past three years.
He was unsure how many people
used the road currently.
“ People don’t tell us when they
are going fishing.”
It would be an injustice if the
road was closed, he said.
Cr Anton Becker asked if Fish
and Game would investigate the
rest of the road, to which Mr
Kelly replied that would be a role
for the council.
The council denied the
submissions, accepting Cr Peter
that “stopping and transfer of
ownership will not impinge on
any public rights any more than
Under the Local Government
Act, any decision to disallow
public submissions against the
road stopping must be referred to
the Environment Court.
“This is not over. They will
hear this out now. They will
listen to both sides and make a
determination,” Mr Kokshoorn
Gloriavale has agreed to pay all
legal costs for the council.
Hall repairs imminent
Scaffolding has gone up to begin
replacing the roof on the Runanga
Miners’ Hall, the first sign of the long-
awaited restoration since half the roof
blew off in Cyclone Ita.
“ For the Runanga Miners’ Hall Trust
and the Runanga community, getting
the roof on the hall and getting the
building weather-tight is a major
step, and a great morale booster,” trust
chairman Paul Thomas said today.
Mr Thomas said it had been a long
A new roof will be put on, the
soffits repaired and heritage guttering
The building was damaged and
part of its roof lost during the fierce
storm in April. In July, the Grey
District Council gave approval for the
ownership of the hall to be transferred
to the newly-formed trust, although
the council will retain ownership until
the insurance process is completed.
A quantity sur veyor assessed the
building last week and the report will
have to be approved by the insurers
before the payout can be released.
Mr Thomas said they were looking at
the first or second week in December
to get the new roof on, depending on
“At the end of the roof fixing we
intend to have a party for Runanga
and the wider community to celebrate
A structural engineer from
Wellington will inspect the building
before the end of November before
the detailed engineering plans are
compiled and a report given to the
Laura Mills and Otago Daily Times
The Royal New Zealand Navy has
confirmed it will next month search for
the wreck of the SS Ventnor, which sank
off New Zealand on the way to China
in 1902 with the remains of 173 West
Coast Chinese on board.
Culturally it is essential for Chinese
people to have their graves tended by
their family to ensure a good afterlife
for the deceased, and prosperity for the
descendants of the deceased. This can
only be done if the person is buried
where their family are, usually in their
So, more than a century ago, the Chinese
community chartered the Ventnor to take
the remains home, including hundreds
exhumed from the West Coast goldfields.
On October 13, the ship Rimu left
Greymouth with remains exhumed
from Greymouth, Hokitika, Reefton
and Ross cemeteries. It carried on to
Dunedin to collect more and then sailed
for Wellington, where the remains were
transferred to the Ventnor.
It sank off Taranaki with 499 coffins on
The loss is the subject of a new television
documentary to air next week on Maori
The boat went down some 16km off the
Hokianga coast, with 489 coffins of South
Island-based goldminers; the remaining
10 coffins of North Island-based Chinese
miners could not be stored in the hold,
and are believed to have been the coffins
later washed ashore and buried by local
The Navy has confirmed it will help in
attempting to locate the wreckage next
The Grey River Argus reported that
some of the bones had been buried for 20
years, but others had never been interred,
having been stored in a shed at the
Greymouth cemetery awaiting shipment.
An earlier shipment in 1883 had
returned the remains of 230 Chinese from
the Otago and West Coast goldfields.
Further story, p3
PICTURE: Nicholas McBride
Runanga Miners’ Hall Trust steering committee member Angela Stratford in front of the hall as the scaffolding goes up, ready to repair the badly damaged roof.
Search mounted for sunken Chinese ‘ghost ship’
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